TED Conversations

Phillip Beaver

Citizen, Humankind

TEDCRED 10+

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

“What view of religion might advance humankind’s psychological maturity?”

Through understanding, humankind continuously increases its psychological maturity. Yet there remain lifestyle concerns and unknowns; e.g., is evolution controlled?
Religion is each person’s acquisition and implementation of preferences for how to experience the unknown and variously integrate the resulting understanding or privation into their life.
Religion tends to respond to progress yet preserve plausible ethics and thus is an evolving art form; e.g., ancients regarded the sun a supernatural power but moderns understand it’s a natural nuclear reactor. Yet the supernatural ethic survives--perhaps as one object of humility.
Religion is expressed in stories, music, symbols, and other art. Institutional religion inculcates art into its young, preserving both understanding and misunderstanding. Each newborn has the duty to itself to achieve understanding in its lifespan, often overcoming natural or cultural limitations. Thus, people have widely differing psychological maturities; humankind must accommodate peace and limit harm.
In humankind’s collective consciousness the people share secular goals: justice, tranquility, defense, prosperity, the privilege of liberty, continuity for posterity, and in-it-togetherness. These goals accommodate beliefs yet authorize limitation of harm. For example, people who advocate taking poison to worship a deity must be limited.
Just governance obtains its authority from the governed--the people. The people must maintain the monopoly on force and coercion through written law that can be modified when injustice is discovered. Just force and coercion apply to behavior and not to thought, such how to express humility, a private matter.
Unfortunately, throughout history, politicians and clergymen have co-operated to use religion as a tool with which to usurp the people’s power. Only the governed can stop usurpation of their power.
Institutions that interfere with the people’s secular goals must suffer the rule of law.
Celebrate

+2
Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Sep 26 2011: Anything that requires the phrase "I believe" and has no definition in the physical world that we measure and observe.

    I enjoy the etymology of the word -

    The word can be traced back to an old Latin word religio meaning "taboo, restraint." A deeper study discovers the word comes from the two words re and ligare. Re is a prefix meaning "return," and ligare means "to bind;" in other words, "return to bondage." ~ Webster's Collegiate Dictionary
    • thumb
      Sep 26 2011: Michael, that is revolutionary and near pithy!
      Why restrict it?
      Consider: Anything that compels people to believe.
      Since reading a few books on the brain’s development, I have been unsatisfied with restriction to the physical. For example, consider this thought as an axiom: History shows that empathy defeats hate. I speculate that a statistical study would demonstrate a basis for the statement.
      I look forward to your comments.
      Phil

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.